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Movie Review: Revenge of the Sith

Posted by Brian on May 29, 2005

Some spoilers below, so if you haven’t seen the new Star Wars yet I suggest you avert your eyes.

With Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas put together a fitting finale to the series that did an excellent job of closing all the gaps between Episodes 1 and 2 and the earlier trilogy. How and why did Vader turn? What happened to Luke and Leia’s mother? How did the Galactic Empire come to be? All these questions, and others, were answered during the course of the movie, and answered satisfactorily in my mind. I give the movie an ethusiastic thumbs up, both for Star Wars fans and the non-geeks out there.

Now that I’ve seen the movie, however, and go through all the movie reviews that I carefully ignored prior to seeing the movie, a common complaint is the nature and/or speed of Anakin’s decent to the Dark Side. Kevin Drum characterizes Anakin’s fall as the result of plain old “teenage angst and alienation,” and argues that this is hardly sufficient reason for Anakin to flip. I’m sympathetic to that point of view, but at the same time, I suspect that perhaps Palpatine was engaging in some subtle Jedi Mind Trick of his own that was pushing Anakin along the way, adding further fuel to the fire within him.

Perhaps the biggest change in the way I look at the Star Wars series now that it is over is who I judge the central character to be. I’ve always thought Eps 4-6 were about Luke, and eps 1-3 were about his father, but at the end of RotS, with Anakin finally making the transformation to Darth Vader, it completes Vader’s entire story arch. We can now see his beginning (potential), middle (transformation from good to evil), and end (redemption). I realize now that the entire story is about Vader himself, with the Luke-related material in Eps 4-6 only important in that it establishes Luke as one of the good guys, which in turn makes Vader’s final efforts to save his son that much more noble (who knows, though… perhaps this was obvious to others a long time ago).

Some other random comments:

  • Ranking the entire Star Wars series, I think I agree with this Film Threat reviewer: Empire, New Hope, Sith, Jedi, Clones, then Phantom Menace.
  • Princess Leia’s last name didn’t pop into my head until the very end of the movie when Senator Organa agreed to adopt the young girl. “What a second…”
  • I think Ewan MacGregor did a tremendous job as the younger Obi-wan. The final back and forth between Obi-wan and his former apprentice/friend was one of the most emotionally-charged scenes in the entire series.
  • Watching Yoda give the force smackdown to those two mooks by the door was worth the price of admission all by itself. I know its fun to snicker at Yoda and make jokes about his appearance, but it’s times like that, and during his showdown with Palpatine, that we can see just how powerful he is. To paraphrase Stan from South Park, I learned something special today: don’t fuck with Yoda.
  • When Palpatine was explaining to Anakin about Darth Plagueis, he mentioned that Plagueis had the ability to somehow manipulate human DNA (or something along those lines, I don’t remember exactly), and that he passed on this skill to his student (Palpatine himself). The first thing that popped in to my mind was the possibility of Anakin being changed in utero by Palpatine (I see now that the invaluable Wikipedia has a page up that addresses that very question).
  • Other good points: no Jar-jar, great set pieces, Chewbacca (seeing Yoda say goodbye to Chewie was touching), General Grievous rocked (some neat background info on Grievous here), and some of the best lightsaber duels ever.
  • A group of us saw the movie together, including my girlfriend’s best friend who, get this, had never seen a Star Wars movie prior to this one. Where the hell do you start when trying to explain the story to a person like that?
  • Some geek over at Kevin Drum’s comments section mentions that the Millenium Falcon can be seen briefly during a shot on Coruscant, but I missed it.

But on a sad note,  never again will I feel the excitement and anticipation that comes with the upcoming release of a new Star Wars film. All good things must come to an end, I suppose, but imagine the possibilities if the series was allowed to run on and on…

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One Response to “Movie Review: Revenge of the Sith”

  1. […] Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith – I wrote a review of Sith that can be found here. In short, I found it to be an excellent finish to the series. […]

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